Report: St. Louis stadium would cost taxpayers $215 million more than previously believed

AP

With NFL owners currently in New York and trying to figure out which team(s) will move to Los Angeles, a push-and-pull has emerged between the Rams and St. Louis.

St. Louis struck the first blow, with the well-timed announcement that National Car Rental has committed to buying the naming rights for the stadium that would allow Missouri to keep ownership of the Rams. The Rams have responded (or at least benefited from coincidence), with St. Louis Magazine (via Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal) reporting that the proposed stadium would cost taxpayers $215 million more than previously believed.

That’s the kind of thing that can get the attention of politicians, especially at a time when the national mood has changed dramatically regarding the concept of subsidizing stadiums for sports teams owned by billionaires. If (as the thinking goes) Rams owner Stan Kroenke, one of the richest men in the world, is going to pay for his own stadium in Los Angeles, why shouldn’t he pay for his own stadium in St. Louis?

The mentality actually helps Kroenke, because he doesn’t want taxpayer money to shackle him to St. Louis. He wants to pay for his own stadium — and he also wants to pick the location for it.

While the information came to St. Louis Magazine via an open records request, the timing suggests that someone specifically selected the two-day window of October 6-7 to drop the news, in the hopes of throwing a wrench into the plan by some owners to let the Chargers move to San Diego and to keep the Rams in St. Louis, with a new stadium partially funded by taxpayers.

If that extra $215 million keeps the St. Louis stadium from being built, it becomes a lot harder to keep the Rams in St. Louis. Which makes it easier for Kroenke to keep his L.A. plan on track.

82 responses to “Report: St. Louis stadium would cost taxpayers $215 million more than previously believed

  1. I personally think that that area would benefit more if the $215 M was spent on education, namely educating the local pols that have let the area fall into hard times.

  2. The cost of building and maintaining these things always end up surpassing estimates.

    Supposed economic benefit to the community is never what they say it’s going to be either.

  3. In this day and age of fantasy football and people moving around more, fewer football fans have as deep a loyalty to their home team as they used to have.

    If my team moved to another city, I could either follow them, or if their games aren’t broadcast, follow a new team.

    Let the Rams move, for most fans they can’t attend the game, so they watch on TV anyway. If the team is on TV, it doesn’t matter where the game is played.

  4. These projects always run over budget. Estimates are placed on the low end in an effort to get the project approved. After it’s approved, then everyone wants to add to the project and its cost goes up. These projects are vanity items for billionaire owners and the local politicians; they want their name on something.

    But, I still think the NFL would prefer to not have a team in LA. If there isn’t a team in LA, that will always be played as a threat to get local politicians to approve public-funding of stadiums (and keep money in the billionaire’s pockets). If the Chargers move, SD is probably too close to LA to be a legit threat. If the Raiders move, the 49ers are too close to use Oakland as a threat. If the Rams move, will anyone take a threat to move to St. Louis that seriously? It certainly isn’t as big a threat as moving to LA.

  5. Robert Kraft stopped the Patriots from being to St. Louis. Thank god he bought the team from James Orthwien.People dump all over Kraft for there own reasons but make no mistake about it . The Patriots are the only stadium in NFL made from private money of owners with no loans or taxes on the local community. Kraft paid cold hard cash up front. Huge props!!!

  6. I’m not sure if the Rams ownership is smart enough to understand that $1 today will not be $1 in 2050. With inflation and COL on the rise, the $6 million the city will pay back this year will almost certainly double in 2050. These numbers shouldn’t shock anyone.

  7. Don’t have a dog in this fight, but when has one of these palatial estates ever come in under the initial estimate?

    Between that and cost overruns, what a jip.

  8. its like watching the 95 browns,
    only you wont see any grown men from the dog pound with tears if they rams leave

  9. Owner holds billions, but still wants more from those who have nothing.
    How about feeding the hungry Kronke.

  10. No fan and nobody should think the tax payers should pay one red cent for a privately owned and very profitable NFL Football team. Why would you? They are a billion dollar enterprise. Are fans and taxpayers so weak they would allow those fans in Missouri who could care less about the NFL have their tax dollars to go towards a private business? Only the NFL would con tax payers to pay for the construction of their businesses. All hail the NFL! Unbelievable and please no arguments from supporters talking about how many jobs will come from this, it’s just a con job and just not the responsibility of tax payers to pay for anything but government for the people and by the people, just doesn’t make any sense and should be illegal. You want to make money in the private sector.. pay for it yourself.

  11. The NFL makes tons off of the communities their stadiums are located in. As well as TV contracts advertising the brand name and of course fantasy. Head office, pay the 215 mil. Assist by spending league $ on the building and renovations of all the venues.

    Instead of showing you care about these communities by sending players to hospitals and football camps (which is good). Show a more solid commitment..spend and share the massive profits you make.

  12. Sounds to me like someone is trying to Ram the city of St. Louis too me.

    Spare no expense. Especially if it’s other peoples money.
    When Roger says Integrity he really means Integreedy.

  13. Robert Kraft stopped the Patriots from being to St. Louis. Thank god he bought the team from James Orthwien.People dump all over Kraft for there own reasons but make no mistake about it . The Patriots are the only stadium in NFL made from private money of owners with no loans or taxes on the local community. Kraft paid cold hard cash up front. Huge props!!!

    ——————————————————–

    I am sure the state gave him some tax breaks and benefits for building the stadium. He didn’t build the stadium from the kindness of his heart.

  14. Wow heard the same story from Ziggy in Minny. My take is the owner will drop any pre tense to LA once someone comes forward and covers a bigger part of the new stadium.
    These guys only want to pony up so much money. Right now no one is ponying up enough money in St Loius so LA is still in discussion.
    Once the Pols come up with a 1/4 percent tax on hotels or something, things will calm down and everything will be a done deal.

  15. One thing Missourians need to realize is the football guys pay a lot of taxes on income. Sales of jerseys and all that crap plus the jobs in and around the stadium do add up so you get things back from your investment. The idea that the tax payer should not pay a dime is kind of foolish. This is an investment in income taxes back. However, the compromise has to be how much do the tax payers pony up versus the league, the owners is whats the big question mark?

  16. “I am sure the state gave him some tax breaks and benefits for building the stadium. He didn’t build the stadium from the kindness of his heart.”

    Wrong. The state made one and only one contribution to the stadium. Massachusetts spent 50 million improving the local roads around the stadium that was it.

    Kraft funded the stadium and Patriot Place around it entirely with his own funding.

    Second, most of these greedy disgusting owners not only want the money to build the stadium they want tax breaks on top of it.

    No welfare for these greed bags. Make the league pay for its own stadiums.

  17. If I was Kroenke I would not invest another Billion in St. Louis…
    Not a strong enough market for that level of personal investment.
    Move to LA. Leave everyone else in their home towns.
    Let them build their own stadiums.

  18. Right now the Rams are 31st in actual attendance and attendance percentage. Regardless of what any owner says about being committed to staying, they know they can get way larger numbers in LA, which means more cash stuffed into their already overflowing briefcases.

  19. Where is the shame for a Billionaire asking for welfare and why is the NFL always the broker with “Pay up or your favorite team will move” threat tactics? You should have every right to build a stadium where you want if funded privately, but you should also have to wait for an expansion team to play in it.

  20. Hi Guys,

    Can someone please explain to me as an Irishman why the taxpayer has to pay for a stadium??

    I know in Europe with our football the team comes up with the finances, Arsenal spent over a billion dollars on a new stadium in London.

    I really don’t understand why the taxpayer has to pay. It’s outrageous. Apologies if this is a stupid question.

    Thanks in advance.

  21. There is no way that stadium in St Louis gets built for it’s current price tag. It’s going to end up just like Atlanta. Half a billion in cost overruns with the taxpayers on the hook for $800 million more than they ALREADY owe on the Edward Jones dome and note a single vote cast. Let the taxpayers vote.

  22. Well, unfortunately it’s kinda the way it works. The thing about us taxpayers helping to build a stadium is that it’s front page news. When it’s another company like Motorola, Intel or whoever, it’s not front page news when a city or state pays for the infrastructure so they’ll put their building in your city and bring or hire employees to work there. It’s the same thing, just a different scale. Actually a stadium creates more jobs and those tickets have more tax on them than any building for Intel will ever have and the income tax from a sports team that has income of $175M or so is quite large….no easy answers…

  23. Does everyone forget that the Rams were originally from LA to begin with? They would just be going home again.

    I say let the owner build his own stadium in whichever city he wants. By being the owner of the stadium as well as the owner of the team, he gets to pocket all of the profits from both.

    That is why Robert Kraft did what he did in building Gillete Stadium and the surrounding Patriots Place. It’s called making a smart business investment.

    Of course to really make your investment pay off requires that you field a top quality team that wins games and keeps the local fans engaged. For the Pats that is a given at this point. The Rams have a little work to do in that regard.

  24. dtcline1984 says:
    Oct 7, 2015 10:30 AM

    I’m not sure if the Rams ownership is smart enough to understand that $1 today will not be $1 in 2050. With inflation and COL on the rise, the $6 million the city will pay back this year will almost certainly double in 2050. These numbers shouldn’t shock anyone.
    ——
    Here is how smart Kroenke is:

    By building his own stadium in L.A. with his own money, which is the plan, he will increase the value of his team by about 1 billion dollars. The stadium will cost about 1 billion, but then he controls every dollar of revenue generated, plus the naming rights.

    If he built his own stadium in St Louis, he would capture all the stadium revenue, but get no bump in the franchise value. It’s a no-brainer for him to leave St. Louis, especially with the new stadium being iffy before these latest cost figures.

  25. Couple of comments and corrections:

    1. Kraft built the entire stadium from private money. Just cash and loans.

    2. The Stat provided ONLY cash for road improvements. And that money was paid back to the state through parking fees, which have all been paid off. (Now the Pats get the parking fees)

    3. Not only didn’t the taxpayers have to play for stadium, season ticket holders DIDN’T have to play of any “personal seat licenses”

    4. Bob Kraft didn’t do anything special to put up this stadium….,,except ask for more money than the logistics of any similar large building project short term, and all paid back. ZERO tax dollars

    5. Any private stadium that costs the taxpayers more than logistical road work that improves everyone’s ride should be a crime. In other words 30 of 32 stadiums in the NFL should be considered CRIMES.

    6. Yet still there will be too many hater fans who will have eaten up the NFL dog food and will want to punish the Patriots for once again doing the right thing….for their fans

  26. unbearablemonster says:

    Taxpapers shouldn’t have to pay anything for a new stadium. These owners are billionaires. It’s a disgrace.
    =====================================

    With the cost of stadiums, most owners don’t have the cash to built their own without selling their team. No amount of marxist class warfare rhetoric can change that fact.

  27. immafubared says:
    Oct 7, 2015 10:53 AM
    One thing Missourians need to realize is the football guys pay a lot of taxes on income. Sales of jerseys and all that crap plus the jobs in and around the stadium do add up so you get things back from your investment.

    ——-
    Missouri gets a state income tax and (I assume) St Louis gets a city income tax for the 8 games a year that are actually played in the city.

    Remember the checks are distributed weekly across 17 weeks. In other words, for road games not much.

    Bonus payouts, signing bonus money, etc I would guess very few players for the Rams actually live in the city year round. Most wisely choose to have a primary residence in Florida or another state with no income tax

  28. You concession and jersey-selling people and the fans: there are plenty of communities willing to take your team. It is not unlike GM moving YOUR plant to Mexico. You have so much envy for ‘rich owners without knowing a blessed thing about how they ‘got’ their wealth. They are merely diversifying a portfolio and are merely conducting a fiduciary responsibilities when weighing their team locating options. They owe you nothing and would prefer to keep it that way. Are you socialists or something?

    Want a team? Want to pitch in? These are your questions. Answer accordingly.

  29. I’m an LA resident, homeowner, and taxpayer. I refuse to pay even one single cent of my hard-earned money for any sports team’s lavish palace.

    In Downtown LA there are skyscrapers and development projects going up as fast as Dubai in the late 2000s. Those high rises will house residents and corporations which will create thousands of HIGH PAYING jobs and will be used every day. The revenue the area creates is enormous. Guess what, none of those developers demanded any tax money.

    A stadium is used only a handful times a year creates only temporary minimum wage jobs. A stadium is a money pit. To hell with the NFL.

  30. The biggest beneficiary is the owner. Civic investments were originally intended to minimize the risk of locating to a certain region. The city recouped its investments via the additional support businesses resulting from the initial investment. Concept works well when you attract a new car manufacturing facility to the region. Not so much with stadiums.
    Call a spade a spade and acknowledge that a stadium doesn’t generate sufficient revenues to justify any civic investment. Lots of other benefits accrue to owners so its not like they are putting anything at risk. They just shouldn’t expect the city to put in any cash.

  31. Those who think “it’s his team, so he can do what he wants” forget how much the public has paid to help “his team” function and even exist in the location it’s in. Even before the question of the new stadium, the public has made the “self made man” what he is.

    And we see how much he values that.

  32. Kroenke should stay in STL for the free Stadium.

    Noone in L.A. is begging for football, cost overruns, you have to take care of your little cousin, the Chargers. Just don’t see the attraction.

  33. “That’s the kind of thing that can get the attention of politicians, especially at a time when the national mood has changed dramatically regarding the concept of subsidizing stadiums for sports teams owned by billionaires.”
    —————————————————-

    Yeah, I don’t think the “national mood” was ever super enthusiastic about publicly-funded stadiums. It’s just something that’s been forced down our throats for the last 20+ years.

    ———————————————–
    “He wants to pay for his own stadium — and he also wants to pick the location for it.”
    ————————————————

    And that’s the problem. The NFL should not – EVER – allow owners to dictate where their franchises will be located because they make greedy decisions that ultimately screw over loyal, longstanding NFL fanbases. The Rams just moved to St. Louis (AND GOT A NEW STADIUM) 20 years ago. The fact that fans in St. Louis has to go through this again is ridiculous.

    This kind of musical chairs should not be allowed by the league because it becomes nothing more than a giant game of Monolopy for the owners.

    If Kroenke doesn’t want a team in St. Louis, he should sell the Rams and the NFL can give him first bidding rights to an expansion team.

    The NFL may not believe it, but it’s entirely possible to kill the golden goose. Allowing owners to act like spoiled children is one way to create bad blood that turns many people off.

  34. Defscottyb-
    You do know the Rams originally played in Cleveland right? By that logic I guess Cleveland will get the Rams. At least they will probably have a better record than the Browns.

  35. Take your team to L.A. but leave the Rams name behind.
    ________

    I still am not used to the name St Louis Rams. I grew up watching the LA Rams. However technically they were originally the Cleveland Rams.

  36. No matter what you do or say, St. Louis is going to look like a bad option and LA is going to look better.

    That is what happens when you fight a Billionaire.

  37. nhpats says:
    Oct 7, 2015 1:13 PM

    So why don’t they just stay in the current stadium? Why is it essential to get a new stadium?

    ———————

    It’s called stadium envy.

  38. Robert Kraft did try to get money out of the State. He wanted the team in Boston, then he pretended he was going to move to Providence, and then Hartford. He signed a deal with Hartford even.
    He was forced to use his own money because the state was not going to give him any.
    And he already owned the stadium (old foxboro), the dog racing track where they built the new stadium on, and a ton of land around the stadium, with most of the parking, including the dirt parking lots near the stadium. If he didn’t get a ton of public dollars to move to Boston, there was no way he was going anywhere else but Foxboro with all the money he had invested in the location.
    Massachusetts has been smartly against using public funds for stadiums for a long time.
    They forced Kraft to use private money.
    When the Red Sox wanted a new waterfront stadium in South Boston (cause thats what Lucchino does, buys teams, gets a new stadium with public dollars, then flips them) Mass told the Sox to pound sand and stay at Fenway. (Lucchino was just trying to extort Providence for a new stadium for the AAA PawSox, it took some effort, but a citizens revolt forced the state of RI to reject his demands! ).
    The rejection of the 2024 Boston Olympics bid was just the latest example of this.
    The end result with Kraft was a great outcome, and he does get credit for being a fan and not threatening to move the team out of NewEngland, but he would have surely taken a handout if given one.

  39. Jimbo: and the Redskins are originally from Boston but gained fame in DC… the Rams are the LA Rams.

  40. The Rams are not anywhere near a Fortune 500 business. Imagine using $215 mil to subsidize the Rams while these Fortune 500 business do not get near that support (2013 list/article):
    24. Express Scripts Holding (60)
    123. Emerson (120)
    206. Monsanto (224)
    275. Reinsurance Group of America (289)
    303. Centene (453)
    315. Peabody Energy (338)
    373. Ameren (340)
    465. Graybar Electric (451)
    491. Jones Financial (516)
    What type of insanity would make such a minor economic contributor like the St Louis Rams think they are entitled to a huge public subsidy?

  41. These owners break out their wallets at the happy hour and show each other pictures of their new stadiums like they’re showing pictures of their kids.

  42. You solve the Missouri problem by doing what Arlington did when Cowboys Stadium was built. The agreement capped what the city would contribute and any costs over that would be the responsibility of the Cowboys (Jerry Jones). Hence, the city of Arlington got a 1.2 billion dollar all purpose venue that generates millions in revenue for the city for 330 million or so. They estimate that the city will pay off their obligation on the venue at least 10 years earlier than expected due to ancillary revenues created by the facility. All the people that raised holy hell about tax money being used to build the stadium have suddenly become mute after they have seen the financial windfall that the stadium created for Arlington.

  43. Why don’t they build these things on a standard plan going forward, say 30,000 seats, plus stacked luxury boxes. Smaller footprint,identical permanent camera positions. Broadcast $ are the big thing anyway. Owners and NFL pay for them, maybe on public land.
    But no rent, and if they choose to move the City gets the Stadium.

  44. This guy married into the Walton fortune, one of the most heavy-handed aristocratic families in the world. The NFL still enjoys massive tax exemptions. Somehow, people are still entertaining the idea that state and local coffers are open for business when it comes to sports entertainment expansion in St. Louis.

    I don’t suppose the extra $215 million on top of the originally proposed number couldn’t be more wisely disseminated throughout the local community. Judging by the recent events, funding education would probably have a much more profound effect. Who knows, as a result of higher educational standards, people won’t burn down their own neighborhoods when something doesn’t go their way.

  45. So what’s the NFL going to do if he just decides to build his own stadium in Los Angeles and move the Rams without the NFL’s permission? Kick the Rams out of the NFL?

    Do you really think the NFL would choose to pass on the money they’d make from an L.A. team?

    In business, progress is made by remembering the old adage, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.”

  46. the stadium that would allow Missouri to keep ownership of the Rams.
    —————————————————–
    Missouri doesn’t own the Rams, Kroenke does. Almost half the NFL teams already play in stadiums older than the one in St Louis. So why does St Louis need a new one? Was the dome so poorly designed or constructed that it is now condemned?

  47. steelerssam says:
    Oct 7, 2015 10:26 AM
    If he’s paying for the stadium, why can’t he put it where he wants? The NFL is like the old Soviet union. Mr Goodell, tear down this wall

    __________

    Goodell isn’t “The NFL”. The owners are. The current projection is that at least 9 of them don’t want Kroenke in LA. The same issue San Diego faces.

    Really, this boils down to the 32 owners playing politics with each other in deciding who lands the most coveted open market.

  48. I remember many years ago when Jesse Ventura was gov of Minnesota he wouldn’t allow the team to use “tax payer money” to buy a new stadium. These owners make enough money, then they seek a new stadium or threaten to move the teams. Then they leave behind an empty building no uses… What other business operates where its allowed to seek tax payer money to build a building for it’s own personal gain? Did you know the NFL operates itself as Non Profit? Yea, I know it’s shocking but true.

    There comes a time where even our sports teams become expendable, and people just simply don’t care, or worse don’t believe what they are watching be real anyway, so go ahead and move. There are too many NFL teams anyway and if few want to threaten to move or seek out new stadium deals, go ahead and leave

  49. thingamajig says:
    Oct 7, 2015 1:10 PM
    The problem with St Louis is it’s turning into a slum and Kroenke knows it.

    ———————————-
    This.
    One riot away from everyone with any $$ leaving town…

  50. “Is you is or is you ain’t my baby?”

    Sounds like a take it or leave it proposition.

    No bad answer for the Rams.

    No good answer for the fans.

  51. Let that sad excuse of a team, coach, and owner leave St. Louis! Once LA is saturated with 2 or 3 teams, the NFL can no longer hold cities hostage for new stadium deals with the threat of moving to big bad LA. Eventually, an intelligent owner will want to locate in St. Louis.

  52. Come on St. Louis, just pony up the money so Baddell and Kronke can start planning how many of ur home games they’ll move out of the country.

  53. blizzard01 says:
    Oct 7, 2015 10:31 AM
    St. Louis was, is, and always shall be — a football town.
    They will come up with the money quickly and happily.

    said no one ever.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Cardinals sell out every game and just won the NL Central for the 3rd year in a row. Yep, it’s a football town alright.

  54. That 215 million might be better used elsewhere, but it probably won’t. The poor will still be poor and the Black people will still riot if you try to Police them. Maybe they could use that money to buy more armored vehicles for policing.

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